Seasonal ecophysiology and leaf morphology of four successional Pennsylvania barrens species in open versus understory environments

B. D. Kloeppel, Marc David Abrams, M. E. Kubiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seasonal net photosynthesis, water relations, and leaf structure were measured in co-occurring saplings of Quercus velutina, Quercus prinus, Sassafras albidum and Acer rubrum from adjacent open and understory sites. Saplings of all species exhibited significant physiological and morphological plasticity, which included greater area-based photosynthesis, leaf conductance, water-use efficiency, stomatal density, specific leaf mass, and leaf thickness on the open site. However, only Q. velutina had greater net photosynthesis in the open versus understory when photosynthesis was expressed on a mass basis. The earlier successional Quercus spp. and S. albidum exhibited higher diurnal and seasonal gas exchange in the open than the later successional A. rubrum, although all species exhibited significant diurnal declines in photosynthesis. Quercus spp. exhibited a 56-62% greater decrease in diurnal water potential compared with S. albidum and A. rubrum in both the open and understory. Sassafras maintained high gas-exchange rates in the open without experiencing large diurnal tissue water deficits. Seasonal variations in net photosynthesis and leaf conductance were significantly correlated with each other and with specific leaf mass. Light-response curves predicted greater saturating light levels and greater rates of maximum photosynthesis in the early successional species versus A. rubrum, but similar light compensation values in all species. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Forestry
  • Ecology

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